Major in Philosophy

University Core
Philosophy Major
Philosophy Minor
Kossel Concentration  

Philosophy has played a central role in Jesuit education since its inception, a tradition that is reflected by the place of philosophy in the Gonzaga University core curriculum. Philosophy courses included as part of the University core curriculum for all undergraduate programs aid students in developing skills of thought and logical analysis (PHIL 101), introduce students to sustained reflection on basic questions of human nature and personhood (PHIL 201), and examine the practical and theoretical considerations relevant to human morality and value (PHIL 301). The department offers 400-level courses on a wide variety of topics, which serve to intergrate work in the core curriculum, and to encourage students to reflect on their future roles in the world.

The Philosophy Department also offers courses leading to the Bachelor of Arts degree with a major or minor in philosophy. Beyond courses that fulfill the university core, students must complete an additional 9 credits of upper-division course work for a philosophy minor, and an additional 24 credits for the philosophy major. The major includes a 3-course sequence in the History of Philosophy; topical seminars that focus on philosophical research, discussion, and writing; and a broad range of 400-level electives, which allows students to develop a program of studies tailored to their own interests. Each student is required to take at least one course in contemporary philosophy, and one course in ethics or political philosophy.

An undergraduate major in philosophy is useful preparation for a variety of careers. The focus on logic, argumentation, and moral theory is valuable to students with career plans in law. Students with interests in business, public policy, or government service can benefit from the many courses which provide reflective analysis on the ways in which political, moral, and social values are embedded in social institutions. A degree in philosophy can be valuable when applying to a variety of professional schools which actively look for liberal arts majors, and employers who do the same.

University Core

 The sustained study of philosophy is at the very heart of any education that is Catholic, Jesuit and humanistic. The following courses fulfill key components of the University core curriculum. 

PHIL 101: Reasoning. The philosophical component of the Gonzaga Freshman Studies Block, this course is an introduction to the basic tools and skills of thinking and reasoning.

PHIL 201:Philosophy of Human Nature. This course initiates students into the study of the human condition, the meaning and value of human life, and the human relationship to ultimate reality.

PHIL 301: Ethics. An upper-division course that studies the goals of human life and the norms of moral behavior. It also seeks to apply those goals and norms to specific moral problems.

PHIL 432: Core Integration Seminar.  The department offers CIS's on a broad variety of topics, which serve to integrate work in the core curriculum, and to encourage students to reflect on their future roles in the world.

B.A. Major in Philosophy

B.A. Major in Philosophy: 36 Credits

Lower Division

  • PHIL 101 Reasoning        3 credits
  • PHIL 201 Philosophy of Human Nature   3 credits

Upper Division

  • PHIL 301 Ethics  3 credits
  • PHIL 305 History of Ancient Philosophy  3 credits
  • PHIL 310 History of Medieval Philosophy 3 credits
  • PHIL 320 History of Modern Philosophy 3 credits
  • PHIL 400-430 Philosophy Seminar             6 credits
  • PHIL 432 Core Integration Seminar           3 credits
  • PHIL 400 Level Elective Course                 3 credits
  • PHIL 499 Senior Exit Requirement             0 credits

One course in Contemporary Philosophy (3 credits)

  • PHIL 404 Philosophy of Science
  • PHIL 411 Philosophy of Language
  • PHIL 413 Theory of Knowledge
  • PHIL 416 Marxism
  • PHIL 421 American Philosophy
  • PHIL 422 Postmodern Thought
  • PHIL 423 Process Philosophy
  • PHIL 425 Phenomenology
  • PHIL 427 Major Figures and Movements
  • PHIL 428 Philosophical Hermeneutics
  • PHIL 429 Special Topics: Philosophy Seminar
  • PHIL 430 Metaphysics
  • PHIL 442 Philosophy of Sex and Gender 
  • PHIL 448 Philosophy of Mind
  • PHIL 454 Existentialism
  • PHIL 491 Special Topics*

One course in Ethics or Political Philosophy (3 credits)

  • PHIL 408 Theories Solidarity and Social Justice
  • PHIL 414 Ancient Concepts of Justice
  • PHIL 416 Marxism
  • PHIL 426 Political Philosophy
  • PHIL 427 Major Figures and Movements
  • PHIL 429 Special Topics: Philosophy Seminar*
  • PHIL 449 African American Philosophy
  • PHIL 453 International Ethics
  • PHIL 455 Health Care Ethics
  • PHIL 456 Feminist Ethics
  • PHIL 457 Business Ethics
  • PHIL 458 Environmental Ethics
  • PHIL 459 Ethics of Eating
  • PHIL 460 Ethics: Global Climate Change
  • PHIL 463 Social Justice
  • PHIL 470 Philosophy of Law
  • PHIL 491 Special Topics*  

* Selected courses only, as indicated in course description.

Note: Majors in philosophy may choose to follow the Kossel track below or should choose their electives carefully in consultation with their advisors and in the light of their philosophical interests and academic objectives.   

Transfer Students
Transfer students who have taken philosophy courses at other institutions may have some or all of the core courses substituted if, in the judgment of the Department, they are equivalent to those courses required at Gonzaga and if a grade of "C" or better was earned.

Minor in Philosophy

Minor in Philosophy: 21 Credits

Lower Division

  • PHIL 101 Reasoning  3 credits
  • PHIL 201 Philosophy of Human Nature   3 credits

Upper Division

  • PHIL 301 Ethics  3 credits
  • PHIL 400-430 Seminar    3 credits
  • PHIL 300 and/or 400 level courses   9 credits

Kossel Concentration

Kossel Concentration: 44 Credits

  • PHIL 413 Theory of Knowledge   3 credits
  • PHIL 439 Christian Metaphysics   3 credits
  • LATN 101   4 credits
  • LATN 102   4 credits

The Kossel concentration is named after Clifford Kossel, S.J., who taught Thomistic philosophy at Gonzaga for many years. The concentration is open to all students who seek a Philosophy major that emphasizes Catholic thought.  It is also designed to provide preparation for advanced professional study of theology.  It includes all the requirements for the philosophy major with specialized pre-theology courses.  In addition to the philosophy major, Kossel students must complete one year of Latin studies (8 credits). In addition to the University Core requirements in Religious Studies, Kossel students must complete one extra Religion course (3 credits on any level) in Catholic doctrine liturgy, sacraments, spirituality, morality, prayer, or biblicial studies.


502 E. Boone Avenue
Spokane, WA 99258-6741
Phone: (509) 313-6741

Location: Campion Hall
N. 1208 Standard
Spokane, WA 99258 - AD Box 47